Queen Emeraldas (クィーン・エメラルダス?) is a four-episode Japanese anime OVA that continues the Harlock franchise created by Leiji Matsumoto. The anime was adapted from Matsumoto's 1978 manga of the same name. Queen Emeraldas is the story of the pirate spaceship, Queen Emeraldas, which is captained by the mysterious and beautiful Emeraldas, a strong and powerful privateer. In practice, the character is also referred to as Queen Emeraldas or Pirate Queen Emeraldas, thus the title refers to both ship and captain.
The storyline follows a young boy named Hiroshi Umino who sneaks aboard a freighter in order to leave Earth. As the freighter is flying through space they are attacked by an Afressian ship. However, the train is saved by a mysterious and incredibly powerful spaceship and is able to make it to their destination, a desert planet with a Western atmosphere, complete with saloons and bar fights. The boy meets up with another stowaway, an old man, and becomes friends with him. He tells the old man that he came to the planet in order to become a stronger individual. He gets himself a job in a bar with the roughest reputation on the planet to prove himself. When the attacking ship, led by Captain Eldomain, lands on the planet to search for whoever attacked him, Emeraldas appears to save the people of the town. In the second episode, after a confrontation with Eldomain and later with Baraluda, the queen of Arfess, Emeraldas presents Hiroshi with the Cosmo Dragoon once owned by Tochiro. Another divergence from the manga takes place here when Emeraldas states that there are five Cosmo Dragoons in existence (hers and the ones owned by Tochiro, Captain Harlock, Tetsuro and Maetel), whereas in the manga there are only four. Later, Hiroshi Umino and his elderly friend visit a planet whose inhabitants have been forced out by a murderous cyborg. This cyborg killed one of the planet's inhabitants and drove his son mad. Umino meets the son and his sister and with their help and Queen Emeraldas', he kills the oppressive cyborg.
While the story can stand on its own, independent of Matsumoto's other works, it mostly assumes that the viewer has seen the other Harlock titles, especially Galaxy Express 999 (the TV series and the movies), which featured Maetel, Emeraldas' sister, but had the occasional appearance of Emeraldas (Note: Maetel, for some reason in the English dub is referred to as Mataire, possibly as a translation error). The story of Queen Emeraldas is set five years after the events of the final Galaxy Express 999 movie and was designed to give Matsumoto's fans a further glimpse into what became of Emeraldas. However, of the other characters, most are only mentioned in passing, except for Captain Harlock who has a brief cameo appearance.
Queen Emeraldas' first two episodes were produced by Studio OLM and licensed for American distribution by ADV Films, being one of their earlier releases on the DVD format. Those two episodes also have regular runs on the Action Channel. In Japan, the remaining two episodes were produced by Multi Access Company and were released the following year after the initial two, indicating that a separate contract (that is not yet forthcoming) would be required for anyone to license the concluding episodes of the story outside of Japan.
Emeraldas appeared in the 1978 Space Pirate Captain Harlock television series during flashbacks. She also had a memorable guest appearance in the 1978 Galaxy Express 999 series. This episode, Eternal Traveller Emeraldas, was later turned into an hour long television special expanding on that story. She subsequently appeared as a supporting character in the film Arcadia of My Youth where it is shown how she obtained her facial scar. She also makes brief appearances in Harlock Saga and Cosmo Warrior Zero. Her origin and youth is depicted in Maetel Legend.
As with Harlock and most other characters of the Leijiverse, Emeraldas' appearances in various stories cannot be applied to one consistent timeline. In the 1978 Galaxy Express 999 story, for example, one notable difference from her other depictions is that Emeraldas is suffering from an unknown illness. Her place as captain was taken over by a robot imposter while she was mostly confined to bed. The story suggests that she does not have much longer to live. This illness is alluded to in the recent manga where Emeraldas does not engage in much physical action due to her weakened condition. However, the OVA version shows no sign of any such illness.
- "Departure" (May 6, 1998)
- "Eternal Emblem" (October 7, 1998)
- "Friendship" (August 6, 1999)
- "Siren" (December 18, 1999)
- Queen Emeraldas (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Queen Emeraldas at the Internet Movie Database